Over the years, many environmental groups and agencies have sought to clean up the toxic environment with varying results. A depleting ozone layer, carbon footprints and recycling our plastics, have now become part of the culture.
However, there is a growing amount of evidence that our environment within the home, can actually be up to 5x more toxic than our outdoor environment. As a result we are seeing and increase in many health conditions that were previously considered rare.
With conditions ranging from headaches, sinus problems and skin reactions; to the more severe neurological symptoms, joint pain, and some cancers, many of these have been linked to the very same chemicals we use to clean our homes.
In one study, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization estimate that 80% of these cancers are attributed to environmental, rather than genetic factors, including exposure to carcinogenic chemicals found in household cleaning products.
Unlike processed foods, producers of these cleaning products are not required to list their chemical ingredients on the label, many of which have not been completely studied for their harmful effects.
Some third-party agencies have taken it upon themselves to determine the chemical content of these cleaners, giving the consumer much needed information, however these studies are few and the number of products on the shelves far outnumber the amount of studies.
Current users of conventional household cleaning products may be creating an indoor toxic time bomb.
Here are some of the most toxic household items to watch out for:
Dishwashing detergent – Chlorine and fluoride in tap water, mixed with petrochemicals, benzene and phosphates. When heat is applied, you have created a “toxic soup” which sticks to your dishes.
Oven Cleaner – Ammonia and lye in the cleaner also become dangerous when heat is applied. These chemicals then find their way onto your food.
Laundry Detergent – Contains benzene which has been linked with leukemia.
All-Purpose Cleaners – Contain petroleum surfactants, again linked to cancer.
Fortunately, many natural cleaning companies have sprung up over the years, such as Seventh Generation and Ecover, which have begun creating products that are not only less toxic, but better for the environment.
Also, there are many resources online that can show you how to create your own cleaning supplies out of basic household products like vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda. Consumers should consider these alternative cleaners as a safer option.